So.....It’s a new year....and I look around at my life and discover the clutter, the disarray, concerns from last year that are seeping over into this new year, hopes and dreams I have for this year just starting, demands and obligations about this new year already on my plate and we’re only 48 hours in.....Oy!
How can I gain any focus for, or begin to build momentum into or toward the possibilities of the new things God is doing (let alone hope to participate in them) in this coming year when I’m already distracted and I feel my plate already pretty much full? I wish and want to make this coming year count in so many ways.
And then I come into my office and someone has placed a small note framed in a little picture frame right on my keyboard: Thank you, Pastor Jim, for these three reminders from Jesus:
Trust Me; I Am with you.
I love you unlimitedly and unconditionally.
Nothing can separate you from My love.
All very nice but there’s no name on it and I don’t recall a recent (or even not so recent) conversation with a specific person where I lifted these three specific truths as “reminders” for someone.
But ya’ know....here’s a place where maybe (actually certainly) I should “practice what cha’ preach”. I set the frame to the side of my keyboard and these reminders keep coming to mind as I move into this new year. Here’s where I can find focus. Here’s where I can lean into the truth of grace. This is how I discover and build momentum toward the possibilities of this new year!
We’re finishing the season of Christmas. Where the very name of the Child King is the promise, “I Am with you”: Emanuel literally means, God-with-us! And we’re reminded of the ascension of Christ where he declares, “Lo, I am with you always...”. I can lean into this promise as I walk into this new year. The Greek word for God’s love is agape. This is the highest form of love and it’s characteristics are that God’s love in Unlimited, Sacrificial, and Unconditional. Knowing this truth, we realize the empowerment of such love. The possibilities of Christ Commonwealth within the next 365 days can become manifest due to this truth.
And we need not fear. Scripture reminds us (Romans 8:35-39) that nothing, NOTHING, can separate us from this unmatchable, unbeatable love! With that truth we can risk much and in so doing achieve much for the cause of Christ! I can glance at that simple message as I go about my days and my tasks. Slowly those words began to change my frame of mind. If I needed something to help me leave behind or overcome old concerns into the New Year, I’d just been given it ... the determination to face each day’s concerns, trusting in the words of these reminders and the promise from the Source of all comfort and strength.
May you have a blessed, meaningful, fulfilling, purposeful, assured, grateful, hope-filled, and happy New Year!
Be God’s, Pastor Jim